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Police services urged to use Get Safe Online

07/10/16

National coordinator for economic crime gets behind the not-for-profit organisation – but some forces are baulking at the cost

Police forces should tap into the not-for-profit organisation Get Safe Online’s expertise to help them to thwart cyber crime, according to Chris Gearny, national coordinator for economic crime and commander at the City of London Police.

Cyber security abstractHe told Capita’s Cyber Crime Conference last week, that Get Safe Online, which is partly funded by the Home Office, should be one of the key programmes used by police forces.

“There is a cost involved for forces, but I am surprised when forces do their own thing; it is a national product which has a consistent standard across the UK and it’s brilliant,” he said.

Get Safe Online is a website with information on online safety for businesses and citizens, and the organisation behind it also works closely with law enforcement agencies and other bodies in support of their outreach activity, internal awareness and customer online safety.

The advice met some opposition, however: one of the delegates said that his company markets Get Safe Online to forces, and while some are interested, many are reluctant to spend £10,000 on the scheme.

“It doesn’t matter how much you sell it to them, when they look at signing off money to it, they say ‘no’,” the delegate said.

Fraud costs

Gearny suggested that forces should take a longer term view – that the £10,000 cost pales in comparison to the £150 billion cost to the UK for fraud.

Another delegate from a police force said that one of the issues with Get Safe Online was that it does not relate specifically to the local area – and that forces do not want national but local information.

There was support, however, with one member of the audience saying that his force uses the service, and that all of the literature and support is provided in a way that can be localised. He suggested that this responsibility should fall to the corporate communications team.

“They are the people who need it to create literature. We can use the Get Safe Online products and then localise them for victims or appropriate crimes within the area, and that’s where corporate communications comes in,” he said.

The general consensus within the room was that Get Safe Online is a valuable product that is significantly underfunded. This has led one police force having to use a lot of its own resources for one of the pop-up sessions.

“We had to put our own staff into it; they are a very small organisation, and the website is excellent, the literature is very good, but when it comes to having a pop-up event, you have to have (your own) member of staff there to arrange it,” said one of the police forces’ team.

Image: http://eng-cs.syr.edu/research/cybersecurity

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